Making athletes better

Meagan Marando.

As a student, Meagan Marando, BS ’03, MBA ’05, came to UB to chase down her goals — both literally and figuratively.

On the track and field team, Marando was a standout in the heptathlon, a series of seven running, jumping and throwing events in which athletes earn points to determine the winner.

Academically, Marando completed her bachelor’s in business administration at the School of Management and continued straight into the UB MBA program, concentrating her coursework in marketing.

The most valuable part of the experience, Marando says, was collaborating with her MBA teammates, who all came from different countries, industries and backgrounds.

“My group was the best,” Marando says. “The School of Management has such a diverse student base, and that was captured in our small group and made our projects better. Today, companies try to teach people to see the value in diversity, but I already experienced that.”

After commencement, Marando began her career at New Era Cap Co., looking to combine her love for sports and marketing. At the time, the historic company was making inroads into the fashion industry, and Marando was tapped to help launch its first collegiate apparel line and the women’s and kid’s versions of the brand’s iconic 59FIFTY hats.

In 2009, Marando jumped to Under Armour as accessories product line manager, helping to bring the brand’s $100 million licensed accessories business in house for the first time.

“That was such an important project to be part of,” Marando says, noting that founder and CEO Kevin Plank personally reviewed the hats her team created. “We did it all — built a team here and in Asia, picked factories to partner with, selected styles, went on sales trips to retailers. It really gave me exposure to a lot of different functions and people.”

Marando has been with Under Armour ever since, advancing through a series of roles over the last 13 years in product management, sourcing, development and supply chains.

Among other accomplishments, Marando spent four months in China, leading the setup of several manufacturing lines. She built a customization program, where customers could purchase one-of-a-kind products, and later managed supply chains for Under Armour’s top collegiate partners.

Today, Marando serves as director of product testing and insights. Through a variety of tactics — including observation, product testing, interviews and surveys — her team generates insights that help the brand tweak products, mitigate risk and make data-driven decisions about future lines.

“We put products on athletes to make sure they fit, function and perform the way they’re supposed to,” explains Marando, who also sits on the leadership team for the women’s resource group within Under Armour.

She continues: “It’s exciting to see a product come out of a designer’s mind and onto a piece of paper, and then watch our tech design team work with the factory to make it into a garment. Then, we observe athletes wear it and fine-tune it so it can go out into the world — sometimes on the highest field of play. That’s pretty cool.”

Written by Matthew Biddle